Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas became angry and threatened to walk away from the current Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations during a meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Paris last week, the Palestinian daily newspaper Al Quds reported.
Citing Palestinian officials present at the meeting, Al Quds explained that Kerry presented Abbas with a new proposed peace framework that the fuming Palestinian leader proceeded to reject as “madness.”
According to the report, Kerry’s proposal required Abbas to publicly recognize Israel as the Jewish state, left security control of the Jordan Valley in Israel’s hands and obligated the absorption of 10 Jewish settlements into a future Palestinian state.
As icing on that bitter cake, the proposal granted the new Palestinian state a capital in the village of Beit Hanina on Jerusalem’s outskirts, rather than control over the entirety of eastern Jerusalem, as demanded by Abbas and his predecessor, Yasser Arafat.
The Palestinians accused Kerry and the Obama Administration of having completely adopted the Israeli peace conditions.
The details of Kerry’s proposal are likely to be tweaked in light of the Palestinian reaction. And when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits Washington next week, he will come under pressure from President Barack Obama to officially accept that proposal, The New York Times reported.
Obama could appeal to Netanyahu that he has nothing to lose by accepting the Kerry proposal, as in its currently reported form it meets most Israeli peace conditions, and if the Palestinians continue to resist, they will be revealed as the true obstacle to peace.
Unfortunately, Israel has been lured into that trap before. Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak went to Camp David in 2000 under similar assumptions. Even though it was clear to all that Arafat had scuttled the talks despite unprecedented land concessions by Barak, Israel was ultimately blamed for the ensuing wave of violence that engulfed the country.